Salon Owner Suing Governor Prepares For Modified Reopening

NBCUniversal, Inc.

The long hair and messy manes people in San Diego County have had to endure because of salon closures could soon be a thing of the past.

Governor Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday that San Diego is among 47 counties across the state that will be allowed to reopen barber shops and hair salons.

Corinne Lam is ecstatic about the news. She’s been restyling her Rancho Bernardo salon, Salotto, in anticipation of reopening.

“This is our waiting area. It used to have our cozy sofa and our luxury drinks. Now it will serve as a [work] station,” Lam said as she gave NBC 7 a tour.

The waiting area was turned into a work station to allow for physical distancing. Other modifications resulted in a net loss of one work station for the salon, which means one less stylist working and one less customer being served at a time.

Some of the new health rules listed in the state’s 10-page safety framework for barbers and hair salons is that stylists and customers will both have to wear face coverings while getting their hair cut or colored. These businesses also won't be able to provide any services to customers' faces, like eyebrow waxing or face shaving.

Lam said she's spent $5,000 on personal protective equipment (PPE) and safety upgrades, like Plexiglas, which help her salon go above and beyond state requirements.

Anyone entering barbershops and salons will have to undergo screening for symptoms.

“We'll do temperature checks and directly escort clients to the restroom to wash hands. There will be a sanitizer on every station," explained Lam.

There are also new, rigorous cleaning demands after each client is finished.

And to help limit contact and the number of customers inside their business,  Lam and others are using digital apps to schedule appointments, check-ins and even take payments.

Another change that will impact profits is the one requiring stylists to be dedicated to one customer at a time.

"We’re going to take a hit for sure,“ said Lam. “For now we’re just happy to be able to follow the guidelines and doing everything we can to stay afloat."

To help offset some of the costs and hopefully help the two employees she’s had to layoff, a GoFundMe account has been established.

In order to reopen, businesses have to fill out the county's Safe Reopening Plan documents and post it publicly, and meet the listed requirements. Lam is meeting with staff Thursday to go over protocols before they open Friday.

If Lam’s name sounds familiar it’s because she’s a plaintiff in the suit against Governor Newsom and State Attorney General Xavier Becerra over the initial closures.

The complaint filed May 12 by the Professional Beauty Federation of California claims the Newsom administration has “vaguely and arbitrarily classified licensed barbering and cosmetology professionals as ‘non-essential,' criminalizing the jobs of the 500,000 plus state-licensed professionals.”

The lawsuit against Newsom is still moving forward because the nail and skin care salons were not mentioned in his guidance and have not yet been permitted to reopen.

Contact Us